The idea behind content marketing is to attract customers and move them to action using valuable content. For example, have you created a free download to encourage viewers to buy your e-book, or to sign up for your newsletter… or to follow your blog, or join your email list? I call this the “valuable content strategy.” I recently saw this strategy help propel a book to the coveted New York Times best seller list, and I share how this happened below.
Free downloads are a proven lead generation tool for small businesses, but they only work when they provide valuable content to your audience. By valuable, I mean something they really, really need. Online marketing expert Marie Forleo recommends we give our audience something of incredible value, because it demonstrates our level of expertise and the quality of our work product.
I’m living proof the strategy works, because if the content is valuable to me, I’ll gladly give up my name and email, and have many, many times over. If it’s really good, I’ll make an investment. In fact, I recently purchased Jonah Berger’s book titled Contagious: Why Things Catch On, which provides six principles for making content go viral. Jonah used a “valuable content strategy” to entice me to purchase.
Here’s how it worked…
Jonah is a Wharton professor and he’s also a LinkedIn influencer, meaning he is one of the business professionals who writes regular articles for LinkedIn–the articles that appear in your news feed based on your interests. Jonah’s very first influencer post on LinkedIn highlighted one of the six principles we should follow to make our content go viral. He caught my attention with the word “viral.”
Takeaway: The headline has to capture the audience’s attention.
Jonah’s book covers six principles, but he highlighted only one in his article. He covered Social Currency, and he provided a great real world example of this principle in action. I was hooked. I related to the example he provided, and it got me thinking of ways I could implement the principle with my own business marketing strategy.
Takeaway: Create content through storytelling, so your readers envision themselves using your product or service, and benefiting from it.
In the LinkedIn article, Jonah shares his expertise in a genuine, non-promotional way. He piqued my interest and slowly gained my trust. He then provided links to his website, where he offered three downloadable tools (more free content) that support the book. The tools give you important information, BUT I quickly learned you need the book to get the most use out of the tools. Very clever! The tools were worksheets that walk through the steps Jonah recommends in his book.
Takeaway: The key to reaching our audience is to give them at least one piece of the content for free. It should be the very best of the content, and good enough to demonstrate the value of the rest of the content.
In this content marketing example, Jonah captured my attention, he gave me something of value for free, and through storytelling, he showed me how the product will help me. If you see the value in this content strategy, but are struggling with what might work for your industry, it’s time we chat offline.